Ace Indian paddler G. Sathiyan fulfilled a long-standing dream on Tuesday when he won the 82nd National Table Tennis Championships crown in Panchkula.
Pitted against close rival and nine-time champion Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan won the final (4-2) with the scoreline 11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8.
Anticipation was high once Sharath and Sathiyan made it to the final and expectely, the match turned out to be exhilarating. The duo's repertoire of strokes was on display, especially during the fast-paced rallies in the match.
Two of the leading Indian paddlers faced off in the National TT final three years ago in Cuttack as well. But it was Sharath who came out victorious that time.
Had Sharath won in Panchkula, this would have been his record-extending tenth national title.
Sathiyan ready for Olympics push
In recent years, Sathiyan has shown his mettle by rising up the ranking ladder.
Arguably one of the finest table tennis players that India has produced, Sathiyan also became the first Indian to break into the top 25 of the ITTF world rankings. He achieved a career-best world ranking of 24 in 2019.
With the Olympic qualifiers scheduled for next month, the current world no. 37, who has been in the form of his life, will look to capitalize on the opportunity and book a ticket for the Tokyo Olympics, starting from July 23.
In the semifinals, Sharath beat Manav Thakkar 11-8, 5-11, 14-12, 11-9, 9-11, 17-15 to while Sathiyan made a clean sweep of 4-0 against Snehit Fidel.